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Published: 2002-07-10 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is looking for a recycling solution to the large dump of old tyres in Te Rapa.

The tyres – 80,000 spread over two properties – were left after the collapse of a company which had intended to re-process them into rubber mats and other products. They are a major fire risk, which would be difficult to extinguish and are easily accessible.

This week’s Regulatory Committee heard the two sites are owned by Grasshopper Properties, which has found an outlet for the small number of car tyres in the pile but at least 90 percent of the tyres are truck tyres or larger.

Moving them from this site and disposing of them would cost about $300,000, including $100,000 in tip fees, as they would have to be shredded and compacted.

A working group of Environment Waikato, Hamilton City Council, New Zealand Fire Service, property owners, neighbouring business owners and tyre manufacturers met last month to discuss solutions.

The liquidator had disclaimed responsibility for the tyres.

The Fire Service had requested buffers between the tyre stacks and options for improving the situation were examined. Disposal options included landfill, land banking until a recycling opportunity could be implemented or recycling.

Resource Use Group Manager Harry Wilson said Environment Waikato was liasing with the Waste Exchange to find out what else could be done, looking at similar issues throughout New Zealand and around the world, as the problem was an industry-wide one.

“Millions of tyres are produced every year and where do they all go? There is no easy solution and we are trying to see what can be done in both the short term and long term.”

The wet weather was assisting in reducing the fire risk temporarily, he said.